Deacons Down Eagles 4-0 in NCAA Opener
Nov. 10, 2012
By Alex Botoman, Wake Forest Athletic Communications (@SIDeacons)
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Wake Forest exploded for four second-half goals, two from leading scorer Katie Stengel, to dispatch Southern Conference champions Georgia Southern 4-0 in the first round of the NCAA Championship on Saturday at Spry Stadium.
Stengel opened the scoring in the 60th minute, and Marisa Park and Rachel Nuzzolese followed soon after to give the Deacons three goals in a 5:13 span. Stengel notched her second goal in the 79th minute to seal the win.
"The first half we had a lot of possession but we weren't really dangerous," said head coach Tony da Luz. "I wanted more combinations up the middle and better one-on-one attacking. We turned it around on some beautiful goals."
Wake Forest advances to face Notre Dame in the second round of the tournament next Friday in Gainesville, Fla. The Fighting Irish defeated Wisconsin-Milwaukee 3-1 in their first round match yesterday.
"We're very similar teams," said da Luz about Notre Dame. "They have some really good attacking players and a nice midfield. It's like playing another ACC team with their level of players. We're going to have to be really great to beat them."
Kristen Meier assisted on both Park's goal and Stengel's second score to move into a tie for fifth place in the Wake Forest career record books with 18 career assists.
Stengel's brace gave her the 11th multi-goal game of her career. Park assisted on Stengel's opener to tie a career-high with three points in the game, posting the third multi-point game of her career.
Wake Forest's best opportunity of the first half came just before halftime. Meier turned and fired a shot from inside the box that clattered off the cross bar. Park's rebound attempt was cleared off the line at the far post.
The Demon Deacons finally broke through in the 60th minute. Park fed Stengel on the right and the junior forward fought off a defender before tucking a shot inside the left post to make the score 1-0.
The Deacons doubled their lead only four minutes later. Meier beat a defender, cut inside and played a gorgeous square ball across the box that Park barely had to get a touch on to push it past the onrushing Merson and into the net.
Nuzzolese made the score 3-0, using fancy footwork at the top of the box to fool a defender before blasting a shot into the goal.
Stengel notched her second goal of the game in the 79th minute on a beautiful combination play. Meier and Stengel traded passes before Meier played the final through ball that put Stengel one-on-one with the goalkeeper and the Deacons' leading scorer made no mistake with the finish to push the advantage to 4-0.